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Ikat is the method of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process used to pattern textiles that is almost similar as tie & dye method either on the Warp or Weft fibers. Image below is to make you understand what warp and weft fibers are.


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Origin:  ‘Ikat’ is an Indonesian word which means ‘to bind’ or ‘to dye’. origin of this weaving technique is unknown. It probably developed in several different locations independently but is practiced across the globe.

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Style: Depending on the resist dying technique on warp and weft fibers, there are mainly three types of Ikat

Warp Ikat: Ikat created by dyeing the warp are the simplest form of Ikat. First the yarn bundles are tied on warped strings of the loom. Then the bundles are covered with wax or wrapped tightly with thread or some other dye-resistant material- to prevent unwanted dye permeation. The resist dye procedure is repeated until the desired result is achieved. 
Koyalagudum, Andra Pradesh specialize in warp ikat particularly suitable for furnishing fabrics made from cotton. 


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One can see the pattern on warp even before weaving. Refer the image below.

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Weft Ikat: Weft ikat uses resist dyeing for the weft fiber. This type of ikat is very difficult to weave. Weft ikat are commonly employed where pattern precision is of less aesthetic concern than the overall resultant fabric. Pattern is visible only after weaving.


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Double Ikat: Both warp and weft are tie-dyed in this kind of ikat. This form of weaving requires lots of skill for right patterns to be woven and is believed the best form of ikat. The amount of labour (A sari length takes two men seven months to complete) and skill required also make it the most expensive. Gujarat, in northern India is home of one of the most famous ikat traditions called the Patan Patola. These silk fabrics are double ikat, traditionally done with vegetable dyes, but now using chemical dyes. The complexity of having both the warp and weft resist dyed makes the actual weaving much more demanding of precision. The intersection of these threads must be precise or the design is lost. 
Process: Bindings, which resist dye penetration, are applied to the threads in the desired patterns and the threads are dyed. Great care must be taken in tying resist areas with water repellent material such as bicycle inner tubes cut into strips. Alteration of the bindings and the dyeing of more than one color produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When all of the dyeing is finished the bindings are removed and the threads are ready to be woven into cloth. Designs generally are worked out on graph paper. Great care must be taken in putting the warp on the loom, keeping all the threads in position is necessary for the design to work. The natural movement during weaving gives ikat designs a feathered edge which characterize this technique. Some styles of ikat favor a blurred appearance.

IndiaJapan and many South-East Asian nations such as CambodiaMyanmarPhilippines and Thailand are famous for their ikat production.

Ikat fabric is timeless and is used in many forms from furnishing to clothing. I also love ikat fabric for its feathered edge designs. Do you have something in ikat at your home lets share with us here at my Facbook page. I would love to look at those eye candy.

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